Saturday, March 28, 2015

Pet Peeves

I don’t usually blog about this topic. But something arose on Facebook this week that made me realize I have one that bugs the heck out of me.

I hate being called a “girl”. Some people who commented thought that it’s no big deal. I wonder if they’re younger than I am. I’m of the generation who fought hard to get equal rights (not that we have them yet) and am sensitive to anything that smacks of condescension and belittling. To me, that does it. I never, ever call a woman a girl in my writing, unless I want to portray a despicable male chauvinist character. I think it’s equivalent to being called “the little lady”. I have actually called the speaker of that term “little man” just to illustrate how ridiculous it is. (Especially since I'm neither short nor slight.) I haven’t gone as far as calling the “girl” speaker a “boy” because that term has such racial overtones.


There’s no need to comment if you disagree with me about my pet peeve word. But I would like to hear what your pet peeves are, and if you use them in your writing.

10 comments:

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I used to hate being called "honey" and "sweeite" by people I didn't know--now I'm guilty of doing the same when I can't remember someone's name.

Kaye George said...

Marilyn, for some reason I don't mind when women call me "hon", but it rankle from a guy.

Linda Thorne said...

In my second book, I use the term "girl" in some backstory about a murder of a young woman. I say "young woman," but when the nineteen & twenty year old roommates talk to each other they often refer to others their age (in dialogue) as girls. Would this annoy you? I'm only asking because the book is not completed yet and I'm always looking for feedback. In my first book one of the characters, calls the 50 year old lead, "girl" as part of his silliness. "Girl, it's gonna happen!"

Linda Rima said...

Little lady bothers me. I'm neither short or small in size. And the rude male found out I could be less than ladylike. And, yes, I did call him little man. When I was married years ago, my now ex-husband referred to me as"wifey" and got a sharp elbow to his midsection! He dropped that word from his vocabulary.

Kaye George said...

Funny, Linda Rima. Strangely enough, I don't think "wifey" bothers me. Probably because I call him "hubby" a lot.

Linda Thorne (what are the odds of 2 Lindas in a row commenting?), I think when women do it, it's a lot different, don't you? To consistently refer to a character in a book as a "girl" when she's not a child, though, seems demeaning. I'm sure a whole lot of people are not a bit bothered by that!

Kathleen Kaska said...

My protagonist is an independent young woman (stories set in the 1950s) and men often call her "little lady." Of course, she hates that term, as do I. But unlike mine, some of her comebacks are classics.

Kaye George said...

Good for her, Kathleen. That's one reason we write, isn't it? To create the character we'd like to be. Sometimes. Not when I write as the villain. Well, maybe a little bit then.

Jean Henry Mead said...

I couldn't agree with you more, Kaye. I hate being called, "Sweetie," "honey," "doll," and certainly not "little lady." My role model has always been Gloria Steinam.

Kaye George said...

She's a good role model!

Linda Thorne said...

Kay George, thanks for your response. I agree with you that it's never good for reference to grown women. I will continue to use the term "girl" when it seems appropriate (teenage girls, etc. or someone acting silly and calling his adult friend "girl" in dialogue).
Yeah, that was funny that two Lindas commented simultaneously. my first name is becoming less and less common.